SW News 21
Adapt to survive
Adapt to survive
On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final instalment of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Focused on climate mitigation, the report provides an update on progress and pledges to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. (See excellent summary here courtesy of Carbon Brief ).
It makes for grim reading. To quote UN Secretary-General António Guterres: ‘It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster...a pathway to global warming of more than double 1.5 degrees.’
To stay under 1.5 degrees, emissions from everything that we do, buy, use and eat need to peak by 2025 and then halve by 2030. This really is our now or never moment.
Can we do it? As optimists we at SW like to believe we can - that our leaders in government and politics, business and finance will rise to the challenge with the urgency and cooperation they showed in tackling COVID-19. But as realists, we accept it’s a long shot given the vested interests and complexities.
Whatever the uncertainty around climate mitigation and whether we’ll succeed in slashing emissions in time, there is one thing we can be certain of: climate adaptation will be key. Countries, cities, communities, and businesses will need to adapt to the changes that a warming world will bring. This need for adaptation was the subject of the second instalment of the IPCC’s AR6, published on 28th February 2022. It was largely overlooked because attention was (understandably) on the horror that was unfolding in Ukraine.
In an effort to raise awareness around climate adaptation, we’re therefore using this edition of SW News to focus on this important topic. It’s a subject close to our hearts as we recently completed a year-long research project, funded by the EPA, looking at climate adaptation for Irish businesses. This involved doing a detailed climate risk assessment for five key sectors of the economy. The final report can be found on SW’s website and on www.epa.ie
To help Irish businesses get climate ready, we’re also publishing five action-oriented sector guides, which summarise our research and provide a practical step-by-step approach to doing a climate risk assessment (see more below). We hope that by using these guides we can help businesses cut through the complexity and take steps to adapt to the risks and opportunities that climate change presents. In the future, adaptation will not be a choice. It will be a case of adapt to survive.